Ford trial will pre­dict traf­fic ac­ci­dents wait­ing to hap­pen

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Technology Intelligen­ce - By Hasan Chowd­hury

FORD is set to trial tech­nol­ogy de­signed to pre­dict traf­fic ac­ci­dents be­fore they hap­pen in its lat­est ef­fort to im­prove road safety.

The car gi­ant will be­gin an 18-month pro­ject in­volv­ing 700 con­nected cars across Ox­ford­shire and Lon­don, which can “com­mu­ni­cate” with each other through internet sig­nals.

Data from the fleet of ve­hi­cles – such as brake or ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal us­age and steer­ing wheel an­gle – will be an­a­lysed along­side in­for­ma­tion from up to 25 ad­di­tional road­side sen­sors supplied by AI firm Vi­vac­ity Labs.

In­ter­ac­tions be­tween the cars and sen­sors will give re­searchers in­sight into the like­li­hood of an ac­ci­dent oc­cur­ring based on the move­ment of a car and the road lay­out.

“Soon ev­ery new ve­hi­cle will be a con­nected ve­hi­cle, and we see this as an op­por­tu­nity to re­duce road traf­fic in­ci­dents and save lives in a sig­nif­i­cant way,” said Jon Scott, pro­ject lead on Ford’s smart mo­bil­ity team.

The Data-Driven Road Safety Tool is de­signed for city plan­ners and coun­cils to one day be able to take “pre-emp­tive ac­tion” and make changes to roads and junc­tions that “pose the high­est risks to road users”.

The pro­ject, funded by In­no­vate UK, a gov­ern­ment-backed in­no­va­tion fund, in­volves close col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ox­ford­shire County Coun­cil and re­searchers at Lough­bor­ough Uni­ver­sity.

The trial builds on re­search done in Lon­don in which data sci­en­tists from Ford an­a­lysed more than a mil­lion miles of driv­ing done by con­nected ve­hi­cles to sup­ply lo­cal au­thor­i­ties with in­for­ma­tion about safety risks in key re­gions of the city.

Con­nected cars have been touted by the automotive in­dus­try as the way for­ward to safer roads, with a fu­ture en­vi­sioned in which cars can “talk” to one an­other through sig­nals and sen­sors in a bid to min­imise ac­ci­dents.

Fig­ures from the Depart­ment for Trans­port sug­gest the an­nual cost of road in­ci­dents ex­ceeds £35bn.

“By con­nect­ing ve­hi­cle data with smart in­fra­struc­ture, we hope this pro­ject will im­prove safety for all users,” said Llewe­lyn Mor­gan, head of in­no­va­tion at Ox­ford­shire County Coun­cil.

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